George Troup (architect)

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Sir George Troup

George Alexander Troup (1863-1941) by Stanley Polkinghorne Andrew (c.1879-1964) in 1927.jpg
23rd Mayor of Wellington
In office
Deputy Martin Luckie
Preceded by Charles Norwood
Succeeded by Thomas Hislop
Personal details
Born(1863-10-21)21 October 1863
London, England
Died4 October 1941(1941-10-04) (aged 77)
Wellington, New Zealand
Political party Reform
Annie Mary Sloan
(m. 1897)

Sir George Alexander Troup CMG (21 October 1863 – 4 October 1941) was a New Zealand architect, engineer and statesman. He was nicknamed "Gingerbread George" after his most famous design, the Dunedin Railway Station in the Flemish Renaissance style (he preferred his alternative design in the Scottish Baronial style). He was the first official architect of the New Zealand Railways. He designed many other stations, including Lower Hutt and Petone.


Early life and education

He was born in London, England. His family returned to Edinburgh, Scotland soon after he was born. His widowed mother sent him to Robert Gordon's College, Aberdeen, where he was entitled to free board and tuition as the son of an Aberdeen burgess.

He trained as an architect and engineer under C.E. Calvert in Edinburgh, and in 1882 was employed as a draughtsman by architect J.J.A. Chesser.


The George Troup designed Dunedin Railway Station Dunedin Railway Station 2.jpg
The George Troup designed Dunedin Railway Station

He emigrated to New Zealand in 1884. Joining the Survey Department when he arrived in Dunedin, he worked in remote survey gangs. In 1886, he joined the New Zealand Railways Department as an engineering draughtsman, having studied at the Otago School of Mines to qualify for the position. He soon transferred to the Head Office in Wellington, where he spent 37 of his 39 years in the Railways, and was responsible for the design of railway stations, bridges and viaducts, and for Railways housing.

His crowning achievement was the design and construction of Dunedin Railway Station, of 1906.

He supported the Presbyterian Church including St. John's in Wellington and the Bible Class movement, the Y.M.C.A., the Wellington Boy's Institute, and the British and Foreign Bible Society. He was also President of the Friesian Cattle Breeders Association, as he farmed his country property at Plimmerton. He was associated with the development of Kelburn, and the Wellington Cable Car.

Standard station designs

Under his leadership, a plan book of revised standard station types was produced by 1904:- [1]

Replaced the former class 5 station, 13 ft (3.5 m) wide x 34 – 69 ft (10.4 – 21 m) long, with an enclosed lobby, ladies' waiting room and toilet, plus, at larger stations, an office and luggage room. Surviving examples are Hundalee (now at Waikari), [2] Moana [3] (Lake Brunner, Trans-Alpine) and Rotowaro. [4]

Te Kuiti described by the Rail Heritage Trust as, "the finest remaining example of a standard class B station" Te Kuiti Rail Station.JPG
Te Kuiti described by the Rail Heritage Trust as, "the finest remaining example of a standard class B station"

Gable-roof 17 ft (5.2 m) wide x 44 –103 ft (13.4 - 31.4 m) long, with the same rooms as Class A, plus, at larger stations, ticket office, parcels room, lamp room, stationmaster's office, porters' room, and postal room, mostly with fireplaces at the apex of the roof. e.g., Glenhope, [5] Kaikoura, [6] Kawakawa, [7] Ohakune, [8] Otaki, [9] Pukekohe, [10] Rangiora, Te Kuiti [11] and Waihi. [12]

As class B, but 20 ft (6.10 m) wide and up to 108 ft (32.9m) long, e.g. Whangarei [13]

Kaiapoi 'Vintage' type after earthquake Kaiapoi railway station.jpg
Kaiapoi 'Vintage' type after earthquake

16 were built between 1900 and 1908 with Tudor-style half-timbering, turrets and towers, large verandahs, tiled roofs and terracotta finials. e.g. Blenheim, [14] Gisborne, [15] Kaiapoi, [16] Lower Hutt, [17] Mataura, [18] Oamaru, [19] Picton [20] and Thames. [21]

Wingatui island platform type Wingatui Railway Station and Signal Box, Dunedin, NZ.jpg
Wingatui island platform type

Gable-roofed, with, usually identical, doors, windows and verandahs on each side, often with Vintage details. Access was from an overbridge or a subway. e.g. Paekakariki, [22] Plimmerton, [23] Remuera [24] and Wingatui railway station. [25]

Political career

Troup was the 23rd mayor of Wellington, the capital of New Zealand, from 1927 to 1931, after being a councillor from 1925 (the year he retired from the Railways) to 1927; he was a member of the (anti-Labour) Civic League. He supported many civic improvements, like the widening and paving of many Wellington streets, and the developing of Rongotai Airport and the National Art Gallery and Museum on the Mount Cook site. He decided not to stand for a third term as mayor in 1930 for health reasons, though with the Depression there was opposition to municipal spending. He was on many boards, e.g. the Wellington Harbour Board. In the 1931 New Year Honours, Troup was appointed a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George, for public services. [27]

Troup stood unsuccessfully for the parliamentary seat of Wellington North as the Reform Party candidate in the 1931 election. In 1935, he was awarded the King George V Silver Jubilee Medal, [28] and in the 1937 New Year Honours, he was appointed a Knight Bachelor, for public services. [29]

Personal life

He married Annie Mary Sloan on 3 March 1897 in Wellington. He died in Wellington, survived by his wife, one son and three daughters.

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  1. Rail Heritage Trust - Heritage Railway Stations
  2. Rail Heritage Trust - Hundalee
  3. Rail Heritage Trust - Moana
  4. Rail Heritage Trust - Rotowaro
  5. Rail Heritage Trust - Glenhope
  6. Rail Heritage Trust - Kaikoura
  7. Rail Heritage Trust - Kawakawa
  8. Heritage NZ listing Ohakune - including photo
  9. Rail Heritage Trust - Otaki,
  10. Rail Heritage Trust - Pukekohe
  11. Rail Heritage Trust - Te Kuiti
  12. Rail Heritage Trust - Waihi
  13. Rail Heritage Trust - Whangarei
  14. Rail Heritage Trust -Blenheim
  15. Rail Heritage Trust - Gisborne
  16. Rail Heritage Trust - Kaiapoi
  17. Rail Heritage Trust - Lower Hutt
  18. Rail Heritage Trust - Mataura
  19. Rail Heritage Trust - Oamaru
  20. Rail Heritage Trust - Picton
  21. Rail Heritage Trust - Thames
  22. Rail Heritage Trust - Paekakariki
  23. Rail Heritage Trust - Plimmerton
  24. Rail Heritage Trust - Remuera
  25. Rail Heritage Trust - Wingatui
  26. "Onehunga unlikely home for old station". 13 March 2008. Retrieved 1 April 2017.
  27. "No. 33675". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1 January 1931. p. 5.
  28. "Official jubilee medals". The Evening Post . 6 May 1935. p. 4. Retrieved 2 July 2013.
  29. "No. 34365". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1 February 1937. p. 689.

Further reading

Political offices
Preceded by
Charles Norwood
Mayor of Wellington
Succeeded by
Thomas Hislop

Commons-logo.svg Media related to George Troup (architect) at Wikimedia Commons